Najia Qazi: Turning Sustainable Ideas into Accepted Business Models

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As businesses confront the emerging challenges of changing climate, resource depletion, and social inequity, there is a growing need for integration of sustainable practices into core business strategies. Considering these emerging needs, Najia Qazi, a Sustainability Advocate, Consultant, and Founder of Sustainable Narrative aims to address how 3 P’s – people, planet and profit can make positive impact.

With a clear vision on circular economy and the new role of business, Najia takes ideas as well as concepts from the natural world, turn them into accepted business models with the approach ‘business today from the perspective of tomorrow’.

Commencing on an Ethical Path

The process that led Najia to achieving an understanding of sustainability and then applying it was firstly iterative. She takes pride in this approach because she knows that it is a huge transition that begins with a process. Having a professional academic degree, Najia dealt with different brands during her career as a designer, therefore when she met brands she got interested in reading and gaining more information concerning the process of production and consuming the products.

There was no stopping and she continued learning like a sponge, by watching climate change documentaries including ‘Before the Flood’ and she also signed up for programs for the SDGs including a course offered by Columbia University in United States of America. This need to develop and enhance the improvement of something stirred Najia into making the change and ensuring sustainable practice.

Incorporating Regenerative Business Mindset

As a founder and consultant her aim is to incorporate the regenerative business mindset that includes the process of restoration, renewal of the current resources, and creation of sustainable systems. Najia realized the importance of the entire economy needing to work effectively and efficiently at all scales – for large and small businesses, for organizations and individuals, across industries to get to a point where negative impacts are reduced and positive outcomes are brought.

This is exactly what the concept of a circular economy is built on. It represents a systemic shift that builds long-term resilience, generates business economic opportunities, and provides environmental and societal benefits.

Marching forward on its voyage, the aim of Sustainable Narrative is to embrace sustainability as a mandatory choice instead of a corrective action and to live it fully. For Najia, this also means for her to continue becoming conscious about her lifestyle, reducing her own footprint and being a role model in creating green impact through local and international collaborations. She vouches to continue learning and informing myself about evolution of sustainable efforts across the world.

Providing Sustainable Design-based Solutions

Sustainable Narrative is a digital consultancy-based sustainability initiative started with a mission to create awareness and provide sustainable design-based solutions to businesses in Dubai, UAE. It aims to incorporate the regenerative business mindset that includes the process of restoration, renewal of the current resources, and creation of sustainable systems. Najia’s exposure to sustainability kicked off from the design world, but she had also learned the importance of questioning the entire value chain.

Najia purposefully decided not to limit her scope to only design brands because she realized that it was crucial that all the economy domains had to function properly as well and as efficiently as they could at every level. This involves companies, firms, and other bodies of different size and sectors, inhabitants and different individuals who contribute toward the decrease of impact and the accomplishment of positive consequences in human or environmental aspects.

In addition, Najia also ensured clients always had a reason to opt for Sustainable Narrative’s services, out of the numerous competitors that were available by employing the following strategies. Resources to be used today on this application include: She established an expertise of herself and the company, developed a good reputation, as well as delivered added value services to clients. To achieve this position, Najia and her team defined themselves and their offering as ones that are considered important and of value by the chosen target audience within the competitive environment. Aside from giving advice or suggestions, what they were able to do was to come up with applicable solutions for clients that would yield actual success. This entailed initial diagnostic and assessment of the operations of clients and determine various areas that needed to be improved and if clients were to reap the benefits, they practice on Sustainable Development Goal 17.

Championing a Circular Future

For Najia, a collective future adopting circular theory will inevitably also emphasize the importance of collaboration and innovation. To do systemic shifts at all levels, Sustainable Narrative opens the doors for working across industries and sectors, synergizing intellectual prowess, and embracing mutual risks and benefits. It encourages to think beyond traditional linear models of production and consumption that were born out of the Industrial Revolution and have changed little since.

At Sustainable Narrative integrating the principles of people, planet, and profit is crucial to ensure a positive impact on society and the environment while maintaining financial viability. Here are some keyways in which the organization is incorporating these principles into its business model:

  • Employee Well-being & Stakeholder Engagement: Prioritizing the well-being of employees by providing opportunities for growth and development, promoting work-life balance, and fostering a diverse and inclusive work
  • Social Responsibility: Supporting social causes, investing in community development projects, and adhering to ethical business practices to contribute positively to
  • Environmental Sustainability & Carbon Footprint Reduction: Implementing eco-friendly practices within the consultancy’s operations, such as reducing energy consumption, minimizing waste generation, through initiatives like offsetting emissions and adopting renewable energy sources.
  • Sustainable Supply Chain: Working with suppliers who adhere to sustainable practices and ethical standards to ensure that the entire supply chain operates in an environmentally responsible manner.
  • Triple Bottom Line Approach: Embracing the triple bottom line approach that considers not only financial performance but also social and environmental impacts when evaluating success.
  • Innovation for Sustainability: Encouraging innovation within the company to develop services that address sustainability challenges while also generating revenue.

Pursuit of Proximal Positive Eco-system

For Najia as an entrepreneur, it is crucial to build sustainable goals, to be straightforward about how they are going to be completed and why there might be some issues, and to work to develop a story of change with oneself and others. She highlights the need to have a good team in place to assist in making important decisions, generating other strategies during difficult times, and in most importantly, implementing strategies formulated in the business. Creating and maintaining a proximal positive eco-system for employees that embraces teamwork, innovation and knowledge enhancement is crucial for sustainability.

Najia simply believes that it is important to identify role models that have attained workplace sustainability in the field or have certain skills which are required in areas of support. This means that these mentors can provide advice and identify with the situation as well as assisting clients in avoiding some of the missteps. She also calls for the active involvement of people in the network, commercial fairs, practical conferences and entrepreneurial forums to enrich the circle and to be exposed to new ideas and opportunities.

Najia also knows that the business environment is dynamic, therefore conducting research as an aspiring entrepreneur means being up to date as a lifelong learner. It is imperative that one keeps abreast with development taking place within the sector as well as trends in technology and customer preferences. She also strongly supports for the personal development and is in the constant search for a means on how one may change, create a new angle and standing better chance in the ever changing and ever more competitive business environment.

At Sustainable Narrative, her goal has been to promote an understanding of existing environmentally friendly solutions for numerous ventures. In the next few years, she would like to develop an organization to involve business people with sustainability-oriented objectives and actions and that organization would be of global as well as regional, particularly in the UAE. This is feasible according to her vision statement where she has proposed to accomplish this through enabled collaborations and teamwork as well as constant future research and discovery that exists in the field of sustainability.

In envisioning the scaling of her sustainable consultancy services and operations and beyond, it is essential to remain agile and adaptable. Continuously evaluate the progress, reassess the strategies, and make necessary adjustments to ensure long- term success. However, incorporating a sustainable mindset demands a collaborative effort from all stakeholders involved, including the UAE government, citizens, brands, and customers. One effective way to bring them under one roof is through education and awareness campaigns that underline the benefits of sustainable practices and the negative consequences of inaction. That is by considering leveraging technology, automation, and digital platforms to streamline operations and reach a wider audience. Also, exploring partnerships or collaborations that can catalyze delivery capabilities in the long term.

Najia believes that a transition to a more responsible future cannot come without involving everyone. To engage citizens, brands, and customers, it is essential to spread awareness about the positive side of sustainable lifestyle practices in a manner that resonates with them. This can be achieved through targeted messaging that emphasizes the transformative impact of sustainability on health, well-being, and quality of life.

 


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